Ron English, football coach at Eastern Michigan University, told the Associated Press that his comments have been misunderstood and that he has great respect for single mothers. English has been trying to quiet criticism over comments he made over the summer in which he said that he wanted football recruits whose fathers had been involved in raising them because they know how to be taught by a man. This week he told the AP that "I regret that some people thought I was attacking single moms," and he noted that his views come from his own experience. "I was raised by my grandmother. My father wasn't really a part of my life until I was a teenager. So, I have all the respect in the world for women raising kids on their own." And while saying he wouldn't discriminate against those raised in single-parent homes, he said it was legitimate to talk about the issue. "I received some great e-mails from women, telling me they didn't know how rational people couldn't understand what I was saying and encouraging me to stick by my guns," he said.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Lasell College has agreed to pay students $191,000 to resolve complaints from the Massachusetts attorney general that the college improperly encouraged students to borrow funds from a lender that was giving the institution's aid officials free trips, The Boston Globe reported. There were less expensive loans available at the time, and the college never revealed to students that its officials had ties to the lender they were sent to. The lender paid for trips by the financial aid director to resorts in Florida and Arizona to serve on an advisory board. College officials said that the travel was legitimate, but that they agreed to settle the case by paying funds back to students who borrowed. A statement by Martha Coakley, the attorney general, said: "Colleges and universities are in a unique position of trust and have a responsibility to provide lending advice that is in the best interest of students and untainted by conflicts of interest. Certainly, no school should ever attempt to restrict a student’s abilities to obtain more affordable loans.’’
Philip Conroy, who was named president of Quincy College in June, has withdrawn from the position and will remain as vice president for enrollment management at Mount Ida College, The Patriot Ledger reported. Quincy's board is divided on many issues, including the presidency, which was offered to Conroy on a 6-to-5 vote and has yet to be followed up with a contract offer. "It has become increasingly clear to me that the board of governors is unable to unite behind a new president," said Conroy’s resignation letter. "[W]hile the offer of the position was extended there has been no movement toward a contract. Therefore, it is with a profound sense of sadness and disappointment that I respectfully decline the offer to serve as president of Quincy College."
Prompted in part by a March shooting by a fired maintenance worker, Ohio State University has announced several changes in hiring procedures. The Columbus Dispatch reported that the university will conduct background checks on all new hires, with a single company doing the work. In addition, civil service workers who are fired during their probationary periods will be required to leave work immediately. The fired worker in the March shooting, who shot two others before killing himself, had been had been told he was being dismissed but was still working at the time of the shootings.
Education Management Corporation, the company that runs the Art Institutes, Argosy University and other for-profit colleges, has turned to external consultants to help employees craft letters voicing opposition to the U.S. Department of Education's proposed regulations on "gainful employment." CEO Todd Nelson wrote to employees last week asking them to cooperate with representatives from DCI Group who would write personalized letters on behalf of employees, which they could then sign and send to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Steve Burd, editor of the New America Foundation's Higher Ed Watch blog, which first reported on Nelson's request, characterized it as an attempt at "manufacturing dissent."
In an e-mail message to Inside Higher Ed, an Education Management spokeswoman, Jacquelyn Muller, said it was "important" for the company's employees and students to be able to speak out against the proposed rules. "We will continue to communicate our opposition to the proposed Gainful Employment Rule and support voluntary efforts that allow our employees, students and faculty to do so as well."
Drake University on Wednesday announced that its football team will play a game on May 21, 2011 in Tanzania -- in what the university believes will be the first American football game in Africa. Drake will play an all-star team from the CONADEIP conference in Mexico in what is being called the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl. After the game, members of both teams will participate in service activities in the area and they plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
A Brooklyn College alumnus has ended plans for a bequest because of his anger over a reading assignment for first-year students, The New York Daily News reported. The book in question is How Does It Feel to Be a Problem, by Moustafa Bayoumi, who teaches at the college. The book looks at the experiences of Arab-Americans, post 9/11. Bruce Kesler, the alumnus, told the Daily News: ""That book was a poor and insulting choice. I'm sure Brooklyn College is still a great avenue for education, but I don't think that I should send it any more money." The National Association of Scholars, which has drawn attention to what it considers politicized reading assignments for freshman orientation programs, recently wrote critically about the book. A statement from the college said it was "regrettable that Mr. Bruce Kesler misunderstands the intentions of the Common Reader experience and the broader context of this selection."
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, a key member of the Senate Democratic leadership, on Tuesday called for a number of reforms of federal laws that involve for-profit higher education, saying that they should share in the default risks of their students -- costs that are currently assumed by the taxpayers. “While responsible for-profit colleges offer a valuable alternative to students, there are too many schools taking advantage of students and making money hand over fist,” Durbin said at a forum he held in Chicago. “Some for-profit colleges are spending a quarter of their revenues on marketing and recruiting, and up to 90 percent of those revenues come from federal funding. We need to consider whether it is wise for companies to profit so handsomely on federal funding when the results don’t match the investment. And we need Congressional action to rein in abuses and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being wisely spent.” Durbin also proposed that accreditation rules be changed so that for-profit colleges can't obtain accreditation by purchasing accredited nonprofit colleges. And he said the for-profit colleges should be required to release more information about "real costs," job placement rates and other factors.
The University of Southern Mississippi is planning to cut 29 faculty jobs -- including those of 14 tenured professors -- as various academic units are eliminated or reduced to deal with state budget cuts, The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., reported. Anita Davis, president of the Faculty Senate, said: "It's sad. These are some of our most-respected people on campus."
A former postdoctoral researcher at Washington State University fabricated and falsified data in a journal article and has been barred from participation in federal research projects for three years, the Office of Research Integrity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday. The announcement in the Federal Register involved researcher Hung-Shu Chang, a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and an article in the journal Endocrinology.